Book contributor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crokinole
crokinole; crokinole history; crokinole rules; crokinole boards
Board dimensions vary with a playing surface typically of polished wood or laminate approximately 27 inches (690 mm) in diameter. The arrangement is 3 concentric rings worth 5, 10, and 15 points as you move in from the outside. There is a shallow 20-point hole at the center. The inner 15-point ring is guarded with 8 small bumpers or posts. The outer ring of the board is divided into four quadrants. The outer edge of the board is raised a bit to keep errant shots from flying out, with a gutter between the playing surface and the edge to collect discarded pieces. Crokinole boards are typically octagonal or round in shape. The first boards built were round, but were subsequently made octagonal to prevent the boards from rolling away when left against the wall for storage. (http://www.angloboerwarmuseum.com/Boer18_memorabilia7_crokinole.html) The discs are roughly checker-sized, slightly smaller in diameter than the board's central hole, and often have concave faces to reduce sliding friction. Alternatively, the game may be played with ring-shaped pieces with a central hole.
It is widely accepted that the best crokinole boards in the world are produced by Carl and Stan Hilinski who grew up in Harborcreek, Pennsylvania, but now live in Virginia and Maryland, respectively. (http://hilinski.net/woodgames/us.html)
Crokinole is most commonly played by two players, or by four players in teams of two, with partners sitting across the board from each other. Players take turns flicking their discs from the outer edge of their quadrant of the board onto the playfield. Shooting is usually done by flicking the disc with a finger, though sometimes small cue sticks may be used. If there are any enemy discs on the board, a player must make contact, directly or indirectly, with an enemy disc during the shot. If unsuccessful, the shot disc is 'fouled' and removed from the board, along with any of the player's other discs that were moved during the shot. When there are no enemy discs on the board, many (but not all) rules also state that a player must shoot for the centre of the board, and a shot disc must finish either completely inside the 15-point guarded ring line, or (depending on the specifics of the rules) be inside or touching this line. This is often called the "no hiding" rule, since it prevents players from placing their first shots where their opponent must traverse completely though the guarded centre ring to hit them and avoid fouling. When playing without this rule, a player may generally make any shot desired, and as long as a disc remains completely inside the outer line of the playfield, it remains on the board. During any shot, any disc that falls completely into the recessed central '20' hole is removed from play, and counts as twenty points for the owner of the disc at the end of the round, assuming the shot is valid. Scoring occurs after all pieces have been played, and it is differential: the player or team with higher score is awarded the difference between the higher and lower scores for the round. Play continues until a predetermined winning score is reached.
History of the game
The earliest known crokinole board to date was built by Eckhardt Wettlaufer of Sebastopol, Ontario, Canada as a fifth birthday gift for his son, Adam, who was born on December 31, 1871. The board now resides at The Joseph Schneider Haus Museum in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada as part of their Harvest Collection. Several other home-made boards of southwestern Ontario origin, and dating from the 1870s, have been discovered since the 1990s. It seems to have been patented on April 20, 1880, in New York City by Joshua K. Ingalls. 
Crokinole is often believed to be of Mennonite or Amish origins, but there is no factual data to support such a claim. The reason for this misconception may be due to its popularity in Mennonite and Amish groups. The game was viewed as a rather innocuous pastime - unlike the perception that diversions such as card playing or dancing were considered "works of the Devil" as held by many 19th-century Protestant groups. The oldest roots of crokinole, from the 1860s, suggest the British and South Asian games are the most likely antecedents of what became crokinole.
In 1899, Crokinole was revolutionized by what is still known today as the "Eagan Opening". Thomas Eagan developed a complicated, 3-turn hybrid opening sequence in Tottenham, Ontario that confused, and ultimately defeated, the Perth County players. The Eagan Opening has never been published, but appears to have been passed down generation by generation to Thomas Eagan's descendants by word of mouth. What is known is that, on the initial shot, the "20" is missed on purpose, with the disc being left on the edge of the 20-hole. Then, depending on the opponent's response, the second or third shot is left behind the player's front-left peg that requires absolute precision for the opponent to remove. Even if the opponent was capable of "breaking through" the Eagan Opening, which the Eagan family themselves were experts at, it often caused such mental exhaustion that it resulted in defeat over the course of the game.
In the late 1940s, a crokinole playing family from Northeastern Newfoundland named the Fitzgeralds visited Tottenham on a cross-country tour. They introduced the Eagan family to the "Coachman's Screen", which purposely lulls the play into the 5-point area on the opponent's cross-side. The Eagan and Fitzgerald families soon learned that the Eagan Opening and Coachman's Screen, when used together, made them virtually unbeatable. Within the local church, after the Catholic mass on Sunday morning, they taught each other the angles and the succession matrix of each technique. 
In 2006, a documentary film called Crokinole was released. The world premiere occurred at the Princess Cinema in Waterloo, Ontario, in early 2006. The movie follows some of the competitors of the 2004 World Crokinole Championship as they prepare for the event.
Origins of the name
The name "Crokinole" derives from croquignole, a French word today designating:
(1) in France, a kind of "cookie" (or "biscuit" in British English) , similar to a biscotto;
(2) in Quebec, a pastry somewhat similar to a doughnut (except for the shape).
It also used to designate of the action of flicking with the finger (Molière, Le malade imaginaire; or Voltaire, Lettre à Frédéric II Roi de Prusse; etc.), and this seems the most likely origin of the name of the game. Croquignole was also a synonym of pichenotte, a word that gave its name to the game of pichenotte or pitchnut. The two games are sometimes mistaken for one another, but are quite different.
Crokinole is called knipsbrat ("flick-board") in the Low German spoken by Mennonites.
World Crokinole Championship
The World Crokinole Championship (WCC) tournament has been held annually since 1999 on the first Saturday of June in Tavistock, Ontario. Tavistock was chosen as the host city because it was the home of Eckhardt Wettlaufer, the maker of the earliest known board. The WCC begins with a qualifying round in which competitors play 10 matches against randomly assigned opponents. The qualifying round is divided into two separate sessions to accommodate the large number of players. At the end of the opening round, the top 16 competitors move on to the playoffs. The top four in the playoffs advance to the semifinals to play each other, and the top two compete in the finals.
December 27, 2010
The descendents of the Eagan-Fitzgerald Cabal played their annual family tournament at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in late 2010. The family took the unusual step bringing in their own security personnel on top of the extra security provided directly by the hotel. They rented several suites as well as a conference room during their reported 3-night stay. The family is said to be disappointed that some names, photos, and details of the tournament were leaked to local media. There were also noise complaints from non-related guests and "extensive damage" caused to one of the rooms.
September 6, 2010
Crokinole and humidity
Humidity can wreak havoc on a crokinole board and its disks. Former World Crokinole Champion (WCC) Brian Cook has privately blamed his second place finish in 2010 to Justin Slater on the WCC board’s inability to handle the humidity in Tavistock. Others have suggested it had nothing to do with the boards, but on Slater’s secret training with descendants of the Eagan-Fitzgerald Cabal as being the difference. Regardless of the reason, I have written a piece on humidity’s impact on the game of crokinole.
A wood's weight and moisture content
Let’s get technical. Wood is hygroscopic--meaning, when exposed to air, a crokinole board will lose or gain moisture until it is in equilibrium with the humidity and temperature of the air. Moisture content (MC) from 5 to 25 percent may be determined using various moisture meters developed for this purpose. The most accurate method in all cases, and for any moisture content, is to follow the laboratory procedure of weighing the piece with moisture, removing the moisture by fully drying it in an oven (105 degrees C) and reweighing. The equation for determining moisture content is MC% = weight of wood with water - oven-dry weight / divided by oven-dry weight X 100.
Equilibrium moisture content
The moisture content of a crokinole board below the fibre saturation point is a function of both relative humidity and temperature in the surrounding air. When a board is neither gaining nor losing moisture, an equilibrium moisture content (EMC) has been reached. Wood technologists have graphs that precisely tie EMC and relative humidity together, but as a rule of thumb, a relative humidity of 25 percent gives an EMC of 5 percent, and a relative humidity of 75 percent gives an EMC of 14 percent. A 50 percent swing in relative humidity produces an EMC change of 10 percent. How that affects the crokinole board depends on which wood species is being used. However, let's say the width variation is just 1/32 inch for a 26-inch playing surface board. That amounts to significant expansion or contraction and can severely impact a game. Protective coatings cannot prevent wood from gaining or losing moisture; they merely slow the process.
All crokinole boards and disks are designed to withstand a certain amount of moisture. In most cases, good craftsmanship will allow the material to expand. Mass produced and composite boards and chips go through the same changes as their custom-made sisters, but high quality boards often include special channels that allow the material to grow. These measures are designed to prevent problems caused by too much moisture, but the appearance and integrity of the boards can still be affected by high humidity.
Crowning is the bowing of a crokinole board into a convex shape. The center of the board appears to be higher than the edges and makes the deck uneven and unattractive. There are a number of causes for crowning, but it is often the result of botched attempts during the design phase. Standing liquids, such as water, but especially alcoholic beverages allowed to sit on the board for long periods triggers the most drastic crowning.
This problem can occur spontaneously in larger crokinole boards. Naturally occurring crowning is much less severe than the kind caused by human error and can only be seen upon close inspection. This kind of crowning is often the result of a humid environment, but should go away once the board is allowed to dry out. In the meantime, boards with bevelled edges will hide some of the distortion.
Cupping is a condition in which crokinole boards become concave. The deck begins to resemble a shallow cup as the sides rise above the center. There are a number of reasons severe cupping can occur, but moisture is always to blame for the change in the wood. Carbonated drink spills that were allowed to soak into the wood are sometimes the problem, but sudden high humidity is often the culprit. This condition is the result of the bottom of the board containing more moisture than the top. Open pores in the deck and improper drying are usually the cause of these variations in dampness.
The treated surface of the wood resists expanding, but the seams and underside of the board swell. As the board grows, it will begin to push up on the surface. This pressure can exacerbate the cupping by forcing the edges to rise even more and cracks the wood.
Buckling is a serious issue in the crokinole disks which the edges of the chips detaches from the core. This problem should never be caused by normal changes in humidity. If a disk does react in this way to more moisture in the air, it was probably manufactured incorrectly. Buckling is seen most often in chips that have been soaked in alcohol, particularly Scottish ales.
Controlling Moisture and Fixing Boards
Most crokinole players will have no problem with their boards. Most modern boards have been treated and designed to withstand even the most drastic atmospheric changes. If these products are installed properly, the boards should have enough room to grow without any problems. However, owners of crokinole boards should keep their home well ventilated in the summer so that moistures can flow freely. Homes in particularly balmy climates may need the help of a dehumidifier. Cracks happen most in the winter, and although they are often only temporary, it may be wise to introduce some moisture into the air inside via a humidifier. This can help the family avoid colds and soar throats, too.
Never leave standing water or other liquid on a crokinole board. After a spill, sop up the liquid as quickly as possible. If necessary, use fans to thoroughly dry the board. Of course, it is never a good idea to mop boards or clean them with water-based products.
If a board has been damaged, look for leaks and other more significant sources of moisture. Humidity does not often cause permanent cosmetic defects, so check for other common problems first. A damaged board may need sanding, refinishing, or other repairs. Since the board must be dried before any work can be done, try letting it air out for a while before calling a handyman. Many humidity problems are only temporary, so watch the area for a few days. If the wood does need work, make sure to allow the moisture to escape before refinishing it. Trapping extra water inside is likely to cause crowning.
August 20, 2010
crokinole history being muted!
Per wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crokinole
Accomplished fiddler and stepdancer, Julie Fitzgerald, was allegedly the first family member to confirm the infamous “Eagan-Fitzgerald Cabal“, a term coined by famous crokinole player and blogger Eric Miltenburg of Toronto. (http://crokinoledepot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=32&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a) In the World Crokinole Championship’s very backyard in Tavistock, in early July 2010, Fitzgerald explained in great detail to Bill Gladding of the Tavistock Gazette the importance of her family’s contribution to crokinole’s rich history. Fitzgerald stated that many of Thomas Eagan’s descendents still play dominant crokinole, but are now scattered across the continent, with some in the Greater Toronto Area, the Ottawa Valley, remote areas of Northern Ontario, British Columbia, and San Francisco. The family do not participate in the World Crokinole Championships, because they consider the level of competition inferior to their own and concentrate on developing their family’s skills. Fitzgerald boasted about the family’s political connections and stated they are developing crokinole software with an unnamed technology company in Sunnyvale, California. (http://tavistockgazette.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/world-crokinole-2010/3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca)
Unfortunately, the story was never published in the Tavistock Gazette. Bill Gladding and Julie Fitzgerald have since denied any conversation taking place. However, Julie’s sister Kerry and brother Tom have confirmed they were in Tavistock with Julie and that she spoke to Gladding on two separate occasions on July 2 and 3, 2010. (source: http://www.bancroftthisweek.com/ )